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Rahul promises martyr status for paramilitary personnel

IANS  |  New Delhi 

Congress President Rahul Gandhi said here on Saturday paramilitary personnel killed in the line of duty will be granted the "martyrs" status if the Congress comes to power.

"Paramilitary forces don't get martyr status when they lay down their lives. If we form the government, we will give martyr status to those paramilitary personnel who lay down their lives in the line of duty," Gandhi said during an interaction with university students at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Auditorium.

Gandhi said he was in close contact with the paramilitary forces as they constituted his security cover. He said instances of casualties in the paramilitary forces were more but they had less infrastructure support. "It is not a right thing. They must get martyr's status and they will get it," he said in response to a question.

Gandhi had earlier raised this issue in the wake of the killing of 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers in the Pulwama terror attack in J&K on February 14.

A week after the attack, Gandhi tweeted: "The brave are martyred. Their families struggle. Forty jawans give their lives but are denied the status of 'shaheed' (martyr)."

During the event titled "Shiksha: Dasha Aur Disha," the Congress President alleged the central government was not accepting the "employment crisis" in the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi should discuss the issue with the youth, he added.

"The government does not even want to accept that there is employment crisis," Gandhi said.

"I have said to him (Modi) 50 times 'please come and debate with me. Debate with me on Rafale, debate with me on corruption, debate with me on jobs, debate with me on defence, anything you want, come.' But the Prime Minister refuses," he said.

The Congress chief alleged the country's wealth was "concentrated" in the hands of "a few" and "for the last five years, Rs 3,50,000 crore worth loans of 15-20 big businesses have been waived."

"Everything is being done to help 15-20 industrialists. The thinking is clear the government does not want to spend money on The government wants students to spend money on The industrialists are being helped through the privatisation of the sector. The government should help and health sectors," he said.

Gandhi asserted the state must pay a large part of the education and more money should be allocated to the sector.

"When we were in power during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) I and II, we opened more than 20 universities. You know how many universities were opened in the last five years? One," he said.

"When I say the government should support education, it means making bank loans easier, providing scholarships, adding more universities and pushing enrollment. If you look at all these numbers, they have fallen in the BJP regime," Gandhi alleged.

China is growing economically and one sees "Made in China" labels on so many products in the country, Gandhi said, adding he was "absolutely convinced" India could go ahead of China.

He reiterated the per-hour job figures to attack the Prime Minister. "In a country of over 1.2 billion people, India is creating about 450 jobs per 24 hours while China is creating 50,000 jobs in the same period," he said, claiming "these are not my figures, but what the Finance Ministry gave in the Lok Sabha."

"Our Prime Minister doesn't seem to think this is a problem," Gandhi alleged. "We need to first acknowledge that there is a problem, and then we need to galvanise support to fight it. That is what we (Congress) believe in," he said.

Responding to a question on giving the tag of "Institute of Eminence" to a non-existent university, Gandhi said, "If you are among those 10-40 industrialists, you will get the tag you want."

He also said people belonging to a particular ideology were being appointed as vice-chancellors in all institutions. "They have nothing to do with global vision and students' feelings. They are concerned just about their ideology and see eduction as their weapon," Gandhi said.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, February 23 2019. 22:40 IST